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Curr Microbiol. 2014 Jul;69(1):88-95. doi: 10.1007/s00284-014-0558-z. Epub 2014 Mar 13.

A sunflower lectin with antifungal properties and putative medical mycology applications.

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1
Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata - CONICET, Funes 3250, 7600, Mar del Plata, Argentina.

Abstract

Lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins with a high specificity for a variety of glycoconjugate sugar motifs. The jacalin-related lectins (JRL) are considered to be a small sub-family composed of galactose- and mannose-specific members. Using a proteomics approach, we have detected a 16 kDa protein (Helja) in sunflower seedlings that were further purified by mannose-agarose affinity chromatography. The aim of this work was to characterize the biological activity of Helja and to explore potential applications for the antifungal activity of this plant lectin against medically important yeasts. To initially assess the agglutination properties of the lectin, Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells were incubated with increasing concentrations of the purified lectin. At a concentration of 120 μg/ml, Helja clearly agglutinated these cells. The ability of different sugars to inhibit S. cerevisiae cell agglutination determined its carbohydrate-specificity. Among the monosaccharides tested, D-mannose had the greatest inhibitory effect, with a minimal concentration of 1.5 mM required to prevent cell agglutination. The antifungal activity was evaluated using pathogenic fungi belonging to the Candida and Pichia genera. We demonstrate that 200 μg/ml of Helja inhibited the growth of all yeasts, and it induced morphological changes, particularly through pseudohyphae formation on Candida tropicalis. Helja alters the membrane permeability of the tested fungi and is also able to induce the production of reactive oxygen species in C. tropicalis cells. We concluded that Helja is a mannose-binding JRL with cell agglutination capabilities and antifungal activity against yeasts. The biological properties of Helja may have practical applications in the control of human pathogens.

PMID:
24623187
DOI:
10.1007/s00284-014-0558-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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